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Self Defense

Groin Kicks and Super Human Strength

It feels silly to even write about this, yet the myth that kicking someone in the groin will give him super human strength is still perpetuated by various sources. I can see a basis for this line of thought, inaccurate as I believe it to be. Looking to understand the thinking that leads people to make these statements and theories, I find there is usually (though not always) some logical thought process behind this, Personally I have used snap kicks to the groins of attackers in real fights with remarkable success. I have also been on the receiving end of more than one groin kick and have found it to be quite an effective target, sometimes much to my chagrin.?

One personal source of this misinformation is a Police Officer who trains Swat Teams Self Defense by hard sparring in the conventional martial arts manner. Since sparring is done as a mutually agreed upon training exercise (symmetrical vs. asymmetrical), the participants should and do learn how to protect the groin area. Whether the groin is deemed an acceptable target or not, male students tend to naturally protect their groin in this type of training. When discussing the groin as a target, this Police Officer was emphatic about his inability to deliver a strike to the groin in his training sessions. His officers were able to protect their groin very effectively while sparring. I know I certainly did in my days of sparring.

However, sparring is quite different from real fighting. Even heavy sparring employs a degree of conscious thought process and physical dexterity that is simply not available in the full adrenal rush. I have seen many a skilled technical fighter stand flat on their feet and throw ineffective haymaker punches in real street encounters. Many of these incidents end up in a clinch with both fighters standing squared off trying to get leverage over the other. To the aware fighter it is often a simple task to throw a front kick or a knee into the groin of their opponent. It sure has worked for me, sometimes to my amazement as my foe dropped like a sack of potatoes from a relatively light force strike. The groin can be a very effective target. Hardcore no-holds barred fighting contests do not allow full contact strikes to the groin for this very reason.

There is a woman who owns a martial arts school in Colorado. This woman emphatically tells her students to never kick a man in the groin. She sites examples where women have been severely beaten after attempting ineffectual strikes to the groin. This is akin to saying never fight back, which law enforcement agents used to say and have now totally reversed their stance. I would imagine some poorly trained women and men in the past have had this negative experience. But the overwhelming evidence is that the groin is an excellent target.

My third source is from a friend who grew up in New York City. It seems he feels the stigma of growing up in 'The City' is that hes supposed to be rough and tough. The stories of his exploits are elaborate and in my book unrealistic reports of flying spin kicks and other highly technical techniques that hes supposedly used in real fights. Always taking his accounts with a grain of salt, the clincher came when we were sharing experiences one evening. He was visibly offended when I mentioned having used groin kicks in real fights. This was apparently outside his code of ethical fighting, and he said as much. I remember being amazed by this coming from someone who supposedly was such a fighter. Inner-city survival would be pretty rough under such a code.

My sense is that he learned much more about street fighting from watching movies and hearing the many embellished stories than actual fighting on the streets. In other words, my good buddy likes to "tell stories" to some degree!

My stance is that there is no such thing as a 'bad' target if the defender strikes with conviction and power. There may be better targets than others. But when it comes to the male groin, no manner of conditioning or weight training can make this area impervious to strikes while under duress.

Written by Bill Kipp - President, International F.A.S.T. Defense Association.

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